Published online Nov 28, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i44.12558
Peer-review started: April 22, 2015
First decision: June 25, 2015
Revised: July 24, 2015
Accepted: October 17, 2015
Article in press: October 20, 2015
Published online: November 28, 2015
Hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer worldwide and unfortunately the number of people affected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is still on the rise. Although the HBV has been known to cause fatal illness since decades but the population effected by this lethal virus have still only a few options for its management. The major treatment strategies include interferons and nucleos(t)ide analogues. These agents have so far produced unsatisfactory results in terms of complete virus eradication. Interferons cannot be used for long term therapy because of their potential side effects. Prolong treatment with nucleos(t)ide analogues has also been reported to cause serious side effects besides the increasing resistance by the virus. The need for new innovative solutions for treatment of HBV has been realized by global research institutes and pharmaceutical industry. Present review focuses in detail on the new ideas that are being transformed into therapeutic tools for use as future therapies in HBV infection. Modern drug designing and screening methods have made the drug discovery process shorter and more reliable. HBV therapeutics will take a new turn in coming years owing to these intelligent drug designing and screening methods. Future therapy of HBV is aiming to include the use of vaccines (both prophylactic and therapeutic), immunomodulators such as antibodies, non-nucleoside antivirals such as RNAi and inhibitors of viral life cycle.
Core tip: The need to develop new therapeutic agents for hepatitis B virus treatment is the motivation factor for many research groups and pharmaceutical industries worldwide. The therapies in development from immunomodulation agents to non-nucleoside viral inhibitors hope to replace the current treatments with the promise of increased efficacy, minimum side effects and shorter duration of cure.